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Expanded Psionics Handbook (3.5)


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Tap into the Power of the Mind

Through sheer force of will, a psionic character can unleash awesome powers that rival any physical force or magical energy. Within these pages, you will discover the secrets of unlocking the magic of the mind - the art of psionics. With updated and increased content, including a newly balanced psionics power system, the Expanded Psionics Handbook easily integrates psionic characters, powers, and monsters into any D&D campaign.

To use this supplement, a Dungeon Master also needs the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. A player needs only the Player's Handbook.

Product History

The Expanded Psionics Handbook (2004) by Bruce Cordell was a considerable reworking of the 2001 Psionics Handbook for 3rd edition D&D. This re-envisioning of psionics removed the D&D tradition of a separate system for psionic combat in favor of integrating psionic attack and defense powers alongside all other psionic powers. Psionic rules changed to a fully point-based system that allows low-level powers to remain formidable and useful even to high-level characters. The book also includes a number of new races, skills, feats, classes, prestige classes, psionic items, and monsters.

Refining the basics. The change in psionics rules was almost universally welcomed by psionics fans, who felt that the previous rules had not allowed them enough flexibility or power. The previous Psionics Handbook suffered somewhat from having powers linked to key ability scores for each psionic discipline. Players found that this fostered "MAD" ("Multiple Ability Dependency"), requiring psionic characters to have many high ability scores in order to be effective. In striving toward balance, the original 3e Psionics Handbook may have erred on the side of creating weak player characters.

The second time around, Cordell chose a different approach. The Expanded Psionics Handbook keyed prime ability scores to classes instead of powers. This change helped create what is arguably the most popular set of psionics rules published for D&D up to this point, although the greater accessibility and class power came at a price: Some DMs restricted psionics due to complaints that the new psion was now too powerful, as well as more flexible than other classes in the game.

The four base psionic classes covered most of the archetypes a psionic character might want to play. The psion is mage-like, eschewing physical attacks in favor of mental abilities and able to summon astral constructs shaped by the mind itself. Analogous to a fighter or paladin, the psychic warrior melds psionic might and physical attacks into a psychically boosted warrior that's more than human. The soulknife is roguish, attacking with blades made of of hardened thought. Finally, the wilder is closest to a sorcerer, choosing fewer psionic abilities but gaining the ability to improve them through emotional "wild surges."

A Full Supplement. The Expanded Psionics Handbook fully integrated psionics into the game world. Nine psionic races (a mixture of old races, such as duergar and thri kreen, and brand new races such as xeph and maenads), over 30 psionic monsters (including intellect devourers and psionic mind flayers), and a new series of psionic items filled the book. Nine prestige classes rounded out the mix. Several of these were particularly flavorful: If you've ever felt the urge to shed your physical body and fly around as a disembodied incorporeal sentience, for instance, there's a psion uncarnate with your name on it.

The result was a fun, playable system that perhaps tended toward excessive flexibility at higher levels. In addition to this rulebook, the 3.5 edition psionics rules detailed here were further developed in the somewhat more controversial Complete Psionic (2006).

About the Creators. Bruce R. Cordell was Wizards' go-to designer for psionics and tentacular monstrosities ever since he authored the adventure "The Gates of Firestorm Peak" (1996) and the Illithiad triad of adventures (1998). Additional design by David Noonan.

About the Product Historian

History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D website Please feel free
to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
William L September 17, 2021 2:56 pm UTC
$16.99 for a pdf, now thats a hefty price to pay. Forget PDF, where is the POD for 3.5?
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Bored D June 14, 2021 10:57 pm UTC
If only I could get it in print
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Heath B January 16, 2021 11:06 pm UTC
I would rebuild my 3rd Edition collection from the ground up if you would put these up Print on Demand.
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KENNETH S November 19, 2018 8:03 am UTC
This Title does not load properly to Apple Books. Artwork and cover disappear.
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This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.